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5 Reasons Your Next Trip Should Be To India

Cows run the road, meditation can comprise of chanting and Chai is the remedy for everything. Here's to India...

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5. The transport

Emma Jacobs

Indian transport is an 'experience'. Trains run surprisingly efficiently (you can thank the British for that). Sleeper trains are a once in a life time experience with cups of Chai offered regularly (for a mere 10 rupees/ 11p), a squat loo as your best option and the chance of animals for company.

Indian traffic however is a whole other story. As liberating as sticking your head out of a tuktuk is, you run the risk of being head-butted by a cow. They rule the roads and the traffic they cause may stop you for hours. Mumbai and Delhi are the worst in terms of traffic but offer a chance to properly see the women in beautiful saris riding motorbikes. There is no code of conduct on the road and honking takes priority over indicating. But at least there's equality of the sexes when it comes to driving badly.

4. The shopping

Emma Jacobs

It's hard not to spend all your rupees on intricate Indian goods. Want to furnish your home for a few quid? Head to Pushkar. The city comprises mainly of a market (with the odd temple and holy lake dotted about) and everything you could wish for is on offer. One trip could get you a sari, sofa cover and so much more. Avoid emporiums that taxi drivers recommend as they work on commission. Instead, head to where the locals shop. Just always be ready to haggle!

3. The beaches

Emma Jacobs

If you're looking for a beach in the middle of a metropolitan city, head to Chowpati (Mumbai). Perfect for a day trip without the commitment of a full beach holiday.

If you're committed to a period of partying and lounging in the sun Goa off season is a haven of serenity and good vibes. A few hippies have hung around and the Portuguese influences make the party centre feel incredibly welcoming and familiar for westerners. If you don't have long steer clear of Calangute (with few westerners on the beach we got a circle of admirers- can put you off soaking up the rays) and head straight to Anjuna.

2. The food

Emma Jacobs

Yes, you will get delhi belly. But boy will it be worth it. Eat in local restaurants and build up your stomach resistance. Lassis are the remedy for; hangovers, overly ambitiously ordered spicy curries and a nice bout of diarrhoea. If you want to go hot opt for a spicy Chai- you'll realise pumpkin spice lattes are a lame interpretation.

1. The people

Emma Jacobs

There are warnings of getting scammed and while there may be issues with rape culture in India, I did not meet one unpleasant person in the 3 weeks I spent there. Other travellers were free, friendly spirits who had a story and personal insight in to what to see and how to deal with what has the potential to be an overwhelming country. Locals beamed at the sight of westerners and their only question was, 'can you take a photo of me?'

The main thing India taught me was the importance and charm of the mentality. The hospitality, acceptance and pure unadulterated happiness (even in difficult circumstances) are part of the beauty of the country and its' inhabitants.

Here's to good, happy karma and, as the man who'd be living on an ashram for a while wished us, a "wonderful and spiritual journey".

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